A two-year master's program in nursing administration focuses on the management side of the profession, integrating leadership, and organizational management skills. Specialization options include medical informatics and business. Prior to admission, schools generally require submission of Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, a purpose statement and a resume, as well as 2-3 reference letters in addition to standard prerequisites for nursing degrees (bachelor's in nursing with at least a 3.0 GPA, RN licensure, and nursing experience). Some institutions also conduct criminal background checks on program applicants. Programs may be found online and can potentially be taken on a part-time basis.
Master of Science in Nursing Administration
Students in this program learn to analyze data to make clinically sound and practical decisions within a healthcare environment and get hands-on experience in a healthcare facility. A major project or thesis paper is also typically incorporated into the degree curriculum. Additionally, students usually participate in an administrative field experience and study such topics as:
- Nursing research methods
- Information science and technology for nurse administrators
- Policies and legalities affecting health care systems
- Fiscal breakdown and budgeting for nurse administrators
- Healthcare program analysis
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Depending on experience, individuals with a nursing administration degree may qualify for a number of managerial positions. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that job opportunities for medical and health services managers, including nurse managers or administrators, would rise 18% from 2018 to 2028. This steady increase has much to do with an aging population and overall growth in the healthcare industry. As of May 2018, the BLS listed the median annual salary of medical and health services managers at $99,730.
Continuing Education and Certification Information
Nursing administration graduates can continue their education toward a Ph.D. in Nursing. However, such a degree is more often pursued by those interested in professorships or scientific research.
Nurse administrators may also decide to earn professional certification through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (www.nursecredentialing.org). Nurse Executive (NE-BC) and Nurse Executive Advanced (NEA-BC) designations are available to those who meet minimum work experience and education requirements and pass an exam. Continuing education is required to maintain certification and renewals are necessary every five years.
Most students who are interested in nursing administration first earn a bachelor's degree in a general nursing field and later on enroll in a master's program. Graduates can continue their education further by joining a Ph.D. program, as well as by earning professional certification.